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The journey to see if Derek Harmeier will become the fourth South Central player to be drafted by a Major League Baseball team will begin this fall at Kaskaskia College.
The 2011 South Central graduate will be pitching for the Blue Devils for the next two seasons, and he said the preparations for a KC fall season are not as demanding as they were in high school.
Once spring rolls around, however, that will change.
His high school coach, Curt Jones, said that for Harmeier to become a professional, he will likely need to make some changes, saying Harmeier’s fastball does not have the speed of those thrown by former Cougars Tanner Bushue and Spencer Patton.
One area that Jones said Harmeier isn’t lacking, however, is work ethic, which is where a lot of success stories start.
“He is a great kid, and never missed anything or made excuses,” Jones said. “He didn’t hit as much as he wanted to, but he kind of learned that his job was out there on the mound.”
Using his pin-point accuracy during the spring season, Harmeier was virtually unhittable this past spring, and that caught the attention of coaches at Kaskaskia College, who signed him at the end of June.
Harmeier went 8-2 with a pair of saves in 13 appearances during the spring. Over his 62 1/3 innings, he struck out 96 batters, while allowing just 37 hits and 10 walks, and he allowed just 13 earned runs.
“He is so dang consistent,” Jones said. “He had a ton of success in high school, but he’ll have to make some adjustments in college.
“He has improved every single year, so his best days may be ahead of him,” he said.
Most of Harmeier’s success comes from his control, but he also helps himself by keeping batters off-balance when he leaves just a few seconds between pitches.
“It keeps your defense ready, and if you (pitch) fast enough, your defense will always be ready,” Harmeier said.
“For the opposing batters, some guys like to take their time getting ready. If they don’t have that, then they can’t hit.”
Harmeier said he would like to keep batters off-balance for at least the next four seasons, with the first two at KC and the second two preferably at Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville or at Eastern Illinois University.
Jones said that no matter where Harmeier ends up, the hurler should be able to make the necessary adjustments to satisfy however his new coaches want him to pitch.
“His control is so impeccable, so whatever their philosophy is, he can do it because his control is so good,” Jones said. “I expect he will be the same type of pitcher (anywhere he goes).”
While in college, Harmeier will study kinesiology and sports management, but ideally, that would become a backup to a primary career in professional baseball – with the Cardinals, if possible.
“It’s been a dream ever since I was a little kid,” he said. “I would love to be the fourth player from South Central to be drafted.”